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05-13-2012, 03:01 AM
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Four Conference Realignment Proposal

I have a (not too radical) idea for a four conference realignment.

First, let me state my assumptions:
- 32 teams
- Two expansion teams: Seattle & Quebec City
- No relocations (of course, if a team is relocated, then that could be worked into this format)

While these may be contentious assumptions, I feel that they are relatively safe. I think that the NHL's proposed four conference realignment suggested that an expansion may be in the cards in the long-term future of the NHL. No relocations is less likely, but I didn't want this thread to be derailed by fans being offended by other fans suggesting X team may be relocated. Lets leave that for another thread.

Eastern Conference
North Atlantic Division
Boston Bruins
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
New Jersey Devils

Mid Atlantic Division
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals
Carolina Hurricanes

Central Conference
North Central Division
Buffalo Sabres
Detroit Red Wings
St. Louis Blues
Columbus Blue Jackets

South Central Division
Florida Panthers
Tampa Bay Lightning
Nashville Predators
Dallas Stars

Western Conference
North Western Division
Chicago Blackhawks
Minnesota Wild
Colorado Avalanche
Seattle Hockey Club

South Western Division
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
Anaheim Ducks
Phoenix Coyotes

Northern Conference
Eastern Division
Toronto Maple Leafs
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Quebec City Hockey Club

Western Division
Winnipeg Jets
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Vancouver Canucks


- Home and home with every team outside of your conference.
24 x 2 = 48

- Play each team in your division six times.
3 x 6 = 18

- Play each team in your conference (that is not in your division) four times.
4 x 4 = 16

48 + 18 + 16 = 82 games in total

Playoffs Format

- The top two teams of every division make the playoffs (8 divisions x 2 teams = 16 teams in the playoffs)

- First round: top two teams of each division play each other.
- Second round: the two division winners from each conference play each other.

End result: Final Four

Inter-conference records (from the home-and-home games) can be used to determine the seeding of the four conferences. Obviously, the strongest conference is #1, second is seeded #2, etc.

- Third round: Conference champion from #1 seeded conference vs. Conference champion from #4 seeded conference; Conference champion from #2 seeded conference vs. Conference champion from #3 conference.

- Fourth round: Stanley Cup Final

Note that the seeding of the conferences should be done immediately after the regular season is completed so that brackets are set and fans can fill them out.

Miscellaneous Notes

1. Security from a business standpoint for the NHL.
- Under the current alignment, it is possible that the NHL may end up with an Ottawa vs. Edmonton SCF. Once Winnipeg moves West, it could be Ottawa vs. Winnipeg. Business-wise, this would be pretty painful for the NHL. If the NHL is smart, it shouldn't leave such things to chance. It is also possible for no Canadian teams to make the playoffs -- this is also somewhat painful for the NHL. Canadian teams generate a lot of revenue, and having a Canadian team in the Final Four would ensure a hell of a lot of revenue for the league from Canada.

2. Revenue from the Canada Cup.
- In Canada, the championship for the Northern Conference (which will undoubtedly be dubbed the Canada Cup by the media and fans) will rake in revenue like nothing else. Especially considering how regionally divided Canada is and how Canadian teams have strong rivalries against one another.

3. Every team plays in every building.

4. Keeps together most rivalries; the main rivalry lost would be DET & CHI.

5. Makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs more 'event-like'.
- The NHL has been trying to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs an event -- akin to March Madness. Having a bracket setup will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs much more of an 'event' and it would make nearly every office in NorthEastern & Great Lakes US + Canada ecstatic for how easily pools can be made.

6. One concern: Northern Conference Time Zone issue.
- I don't think this will be much of a concern. The only worst case scenario is when an Eastern Division team plays Vancouver -- where there is a three-hour time zone difference. Winnipeg is CT and Calgary and Edmonton are MT, so there isn't much of an issue with any of those teams.
- Firstly, there can be a bit of give-and-take when Eastern Division teams play Vancouver. Games occurring in Vancouver can start at 6:00PM PT (thereby starting at 9:00PM in the East and ending at about 11:30PM ET), and games occurring in the East can start at 8:30PM in the East (thereby starting at 5:30PM in Vancouver and ending at about 11:00PM in the East).
- Moreover, this can further be ameliorated by trying to make sure that Vancouver vs. East games occur mostly on Saturdays and Sundays -- then you can schedule it at pretty much whatever time (e.g., the afternoon).


The only sad part here, IMO, is that CHI and DET are split up. But I'm sure DET wouldn't mind if they can play in a conference that is more time zone friendly for them!

Last edited by saffronleaf: 05-13-2012 at 03:13 AM.
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